Monday, February 4, 2008

Where Eagles Dare

Its no longer news that Nigeria has crashed out of the 26th ACN in Ghana and to Ghana's Black Stars.

The Fourteen Years Theory was beginning to look good after Nigeria was able to qualify from the Group stages due to a fluke. Several commentators had gone to town with all sorts of permutations both logical and illogical- and trust us Nigerians, we love to make up good stories.

One particularly good one was about 'Injured Skippers' that goes thus: It somehow was revealed that at the 1980 ACN Skipper Christian Chukwu was actually nursing an injury but because of his enormous influence on the players - most of who were from his Rangers International FC, Coach Otto Gloria had to keep him on the team and he played all the matches in the ACN that year when Nigeria won.

In 1994, Skipper Stephen Keshi was injured even before the ACN in Tunisia but because of his charisma, the Coach Clemens Westerhof put him in the team and actually dressed him for all the matches even though he never got to kick the ball. He was always in track bottoms until the last match when he took them off and collected the Captain's band from the substantive captain Austin Eguavoen in order to receive the trophy.

In 2008, Skipper Nwankwo Kanu was injured in the very first match against Ivory Coast and he was not likely to recover anytime soon. Presto! That was all that the Fourteen Year Theorists needed. Notice that Kanu was actually dressed for that match against Ghana even though we all knew he could not play. Probably as a psychological tonic for the boys.

But alas! The Fourteen Year Theory failed. Nigeria crashed out for the first time at the quarter-finals of an ACN.

The match itself lived up to its billing. It had been tagged The Fiftieth World War (WW50) by the press. It is the fiftieth time Nigeria and Ghana would be meeting in a football match both competitive and otherwise. And every time the two sides meet, it is war! There is nothing like a 'friendly' match between Nigeria and Ghana. The rivalry is so intense that many Nigerians are actually relieved that we lost to Ghana and not any other team in the competition. 'Our time will come' is the consolation. As it stands now Ghana has won 18; Nigeria won 17 with 15 drawn games. It was 17-17-15 as at kickoff. I sincerely don't know where they got these stats but it was repeated several times during commentaries.

I'm pretty sure Herr Berti Vogts did not know what he was getting himself into when he took this job but now he should have an idea. One could notice some changes in the pattern of play particularly after the Mali misadventure when Nigeria fielded a whole 5 (five!) attackers while Mali fielded five midfielders and none of them could find the goals! It was laughable!

I had never thought I would live to see the day that Nigerians would rejoice over defeating their Beninois neighbors by a mere two goals to nothing but saw it I did. Nigerians actually popped champagne because of that. I mean, just when did we come to this? Its a scandal!

If I was impressed by the little improvement in the team after they reverted back to Wingplay, it was shortlived because of the horrendous changes made by Herr Vogts.

It was a delight watching Osaze Odemwingie running on the flanks in the match against Ghana. The Ghanaians had a tough time keeping up with him and he switched from the right to the left so often that he frustrated the Ghanaian captain John Mensah into committing a red carded foul. The new boy, Uche Ikechukwu was also a sensation. Thank God the Spaniards did not get him to play for them. It would have been a great loss to Nigeria.

Danny Shittu was very mobile even with his bulk and he was very good at checking the Ghanaian attackers. One would have loved to see him more in a libero role but he had to fall back too often to cover up for Taye Taiwo. And the bros in the middle that was supposed to do the finishing was absent most of the time except when Uche presented him with a penalty kick to score from. Yakubu Ayegbeni was a disappointment.

What we need is someone in the mould of a Rashidi Yekini, a finisher par excellence or even a Victor Agali. Someone with a nose for goals. Ayegbeni seems only to perform against slow defenders and Martins was just not effective in Vogts 4-3-3 pattern. Mikel Obi was very effective in the middle and Dickson Etuhu was also very effective as his silent assistant though we didn't notice that until when Etuhu was injured.

Against a formidable midfield with Michael Essien, Sulleyman Muntari and Gyang, it was not a mean feat for the young men to cope and contain the Ghanaians but when Etuhu had to go out,(the game was at a 1-1 draw and we obviously needed more goals) and Herr Vogts replaced him with Richard Eromoigbe, a defensive midfielder who actually played right full back at the last ACN - I wondered 'What was he smoking?'

When we were one goal behind, (and the Ghanaians were down to ten men) he removed Mikel Obi and brought in Obi Nsofor who really had no role to play in the match, the guy just kept running around (I don't want to say like a headless chicken). Even Kanu was disgusted, you could see it on his face. I mean, where did they get this guy from?

Take nothing away from the Ghanaians. Michael Essien was a very effective leader in the team even before he put on the captains band and when he moved back to replace the ousted J. Mensah, I was expecting the Eagles to over run the midfield by simple majority but Essien did a yeoman's job there. I was impressed.

Even that Ghanaian joke called 'Junior'Agogo stepped up his game a notch against Nigeria. The commentators had said what Agogo lacked in technique he made up with 'gra gra'. His 'gra gra' eventually paid off as he scored the second goal from beside a flat footed Taye Taiwo.

As for me, immediately the referee raised up his hands and blew the final whistle, I just switched channels to watch 'Desperate Housewives' Season 4.

23 comments:

guerreiranigeriana said...

lol...i love it...you went to watch desperate housewives?!...i couldn't even bring myself to watch it online...(you know the stupid americans weren't showing it...they'll show us european soccer all day but not african cup of nations)...nice write up...i knew you would do justice...this is by far better than what i have read in the papers...

Queen of My Castle said...

What is it with you male bloggers posting about soccer?! LOL

guerreiranigeriana said...

um, just read your comment on dl's page and wow!!!!...next time i have a hard time in my life, i'm coming straight to your page...well said...the indigenous knowledge piece floored me!...*shakes her head*...you are amazing!!!...

Isi said...

i am so not going to talk abt that fiasco of a match...
u watch desperate housewives? hehehe!

which on is dl, and wat was the awesome comment u left there?
i want to know

N.I.M.M.O said...

@GNaija: No mind them. Please enjoy my *very biased/opinionated* take on Naija's performance at the ANC. Hope it does justice. Besides almost all the columnists agree with me eventually. Many thanks for the ad on yours.LOL.
@QoMC: Nne, don't mind us o. Its just the season. Its like female bloggers posting about LOVE in February. LOL. Many thanx for stopping by.
@GNaija (again): Anytime Sis. May GOD not allow us yawa that will pass our knowledge; and if it happens, may GOD give us the wisdom to understand and surmount it. Do I hear an AMEN?
@Isi: Nne, I believe you can understand why I chose to watch DH4. I didn't want to just worry myself unnecessarily.

If you live with my wife, you will watch Desperate Housewives. End of Story. She actually keeps the remote control.

DL is 'Desperate Lady'- A blogger and GNaija was referring to a comment I left on her blog.

This is your first time here right? *Bell of Blessing rings*. many thanx for stopping by.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

hahahaha. Desperate Housewives? Well, I don't blame you, sha.

You sure say you no be preacher? I see you asking GNaija(if I may borrow) for an "Amen". loL!

desperate lady said...

phewwww i'm so glad the super eagle thingy is over, at least no more soccer post...i was having a big ass headache reading all dem soccer posts.
O Nimmo, ur comment on ma blog tripped me maaaan, where was i when u were getting married?....i'm pissed maaan!

Afrobabe said...

ok...update abeg...I don't much care for football...

guerreiranigeriana said...

amen indeed!!!...you may call me g.naija...naapali has also given me his own nickname...and yes, your portuguese is pretty good...that is what my name means...

Queen of My Castle said...

C'mon...update already!!!!

anonymous gal said...

im wit cat here. only i know all the cuties there are

Afrobabe said...

Are you gonna update or what???

and nothing about football abeg...

guerreiranigeriana said...

God bless you and your comment about capt sankara o!!!...you are forever and always welcome...use as much space as you need!!!!...what wonderful details you provided!!!...i have been enlightened o!!!...my enthusiasm for the man has increased sharply...i may even like him more than nkrumah sef...thank you thank you....muito obrigada...a luta continua!!...e sempre fica vontade!...

Risquediva said...

LOL...Whats all ds topic about socer anyways just showing some love. thanks for stopping at my page...cum back soon love

Afrobabe said...

Cat eat ur update?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

LOL @ Afrobabe's last comment. But she's right....

teediva said...

all this soccer talk? i stumbled thru the previous post cos it was quite informative, but now i have to grumble small.

The Indecent One..... said...

lol @ queen. As in eh, so annoying. First u follow the first few lines but lose it wen they start naming names, coaches, past year victories and all wat not.....na so so football, lol

ablackjamesbond said...

Supereagle: [s??’p?ree-guh-l] noun, verb, -supereagled, -supereagling

noun

1. [Informal] any of several spoilt, rich, unpatriotic, unfit group of young men belonging to the family ‘disasteridae’ noted for their lack lustre, unimpressive, apathetic and lackadaisical attitude on the field of play especially when there is a lot at stake.

The Nigerian right full back is definitely a ~.

2. [informal] A useless football player.

Verb

1. To crash out, disappoint, lose, sadden

Example: The Malian national team ~d out of the Nations Cup after losing their third group game 3-0 to the Ivoriens.

Superagles:[s??’p?ree-guh-lz] noun

A group of undependable, unpatriotic, unserious, unfit individuals who manages to disappoint and cut short national ambitions and aspirations. Formerly found only in Nigeria, supereagles are now common all over the western part of Africa- Benin & Togo.

Example: The Nigerian senior football national team are a bunch of ~.

sorry for the post Bro...

and thanks for stopping by

Nine said...

@ablackjamesbond
ROFLMAO.Funniest thing I've read all day.

I personally expect the worst whenever they play.That way I'm never disappointed whenever I can be bothered to watch.

Risquediva said...

update na

Toochi said...

soccer or sucker:)

guerreiranigeriana said...

lmao @ ablackjanesbond....engrazado/engrasado demais!!...

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